Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Colliery Dams Debacle - Worth Repeating

This first appeared on this blog about one month ago. I think it is worth repeating. For those who read it, jump to the next post.

Was the Colliery Dam Debacle ever really about safety??

That is a mystery equal to the Cadbury Caramilk bar mystery. It begs the question, was the public's safety ever really the true genesis of this saga, or was public safety used to 'sell' the idea of getting rid of the dams for reasons as yet unknown ?

Another spectre this whole saga has raised is what kind of moral and ethical standards do city staff and city-hired engineers have to be held to when it comes to serving the public which is supposed to be their highest objective.

It seems like yesterday Nanaimo Council and the citizens of Nanaimo were regaled with tales of imminent disaster of catastrophic scale which could result in the loss of 150 souls. Remember? We were also told it could cost as much as $30 million to avoid such calamity if we chose to replace the dams, and far less of course should we decide to remove them.

That presentation was supported by city staff and hired engineers telling us of poorly constructed, non-reinforced dams with crumbling, honeycombed concrete evident for all to see. Remember?

We now know this to be, simply put, hogwash! Very costly hogwash that has cost Nanaimo taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars on an exercise with questionable origins.

Accountability? What Accountability?

The big question of course is something we are told our government strives for constantly, and that is accountability. So, what does accountability look like in this case? How are staffers held accountable for their part in this story? How are the engineers with the revered P Eng seal to their credit held accountable?

Perhaps the biggest question of all right now, is whether or not the most recent million dollar exercise is any more credible than the first. The first was led by city staff who directed hired engineers (who have hundreds of thousands at stake) to do a further assessment of the dams. The same scenario that led to the first conclusion. Different city staffers, different hired engineers, but the same roles. With the same end objective?

It is noteworthy that after nearly $3 million, city staff have not directed those hired professionals to determine exactly how this concrete dam is constructed. Once again, they are allowing for decisions to spend millions of tax dollars based on incomplete work.

A well known Nanaimo citizen recently had a letter in the local Daily noting that the money being used to fix the unbroken dams, would go a long way towards completing the seawalk from Departure Bay to the estuary.

Which would be a better use of tax dollars?


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